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tv   Colonial America and the British Empire  CSPAN  March 5, 2017 11:00am-11:49am EST

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fall of the case treatment a with one ofegade, the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. >> i had heard about his lifestyle for a while. i wanted to wait and see if anything else became public about this guy. one year later i started looking into his life and into his campaign donations, his spending, and what made him one of the walk and stopped rub -- drug company lobbyists. >> tonight, at 8 p.m. eastern, on "q&a. professor,mbs, teaches a class on the british empire and the chesapeake area. he describes how the rise of the tobacco economy consolidate of wealthy virginia planters and london merchants who controlled
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transatlantic shipping. his classes about 50 minutes. -- class is about 50 minutes. all right,oombs: good day, gentlemen. we have talked about up to this point, the development of a regional basis of the different colonies of english america. what i want to do today is take a step back, more of an imperial approach and talk about the maturation of the english empire. you might be curious about the date. hopefully the reason for that will become clear over the course of this lecture. as a point of the part sure, most people may think about english america, mainland north america, something like this
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image is what comes to mind. as we talked about it with respect to the other empires in north america, maps are discursive. there are more assertions of claims of territory. small little clusters of settlements, you can barely see it. there is a dark patch around chesapeake day. a scattering of dots along the atlantic coast. each one represents 200 people. in other words, the colonies in english mainland north america are not altogether unlike the other parts of english america in the caribbean.
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they are islands in the sea of wilderness. i have been calling -- using the term colony. the english possessions in north america are more dominions than colonies. what is the difference? we talked about this earlier, what the difference is between a dominion and a colony. >> dominion is on its own. it is still part of the greater empire. but they are more tied to the economic and military aspects of the overall empire.
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prof. coombs: perfect. great answer. dominions are off on their own. the only thing that really makes these various possessions in north america a larger emerging state is the fact that they are english. many charters have been issued by the crown. their authorization for their founding comes from the english monarchy. there is no structures to tie them to the mother country to speak of whatsoever. between 1644 and 1638, massachusetts received no help from england in terms of fighting in that conflict. nor did virginia in the course of the third anglo conflict. both of these were fought entirely by the settlers themselves. using their own weapons, they had to build their own for its, there is no english troops involved whatsoever. over the course of the 16 30's, having dutch penetration of english possessions in terms of overseas trade. charles the first issued a number of directives to the virginia council of states to
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governors insisting tobacco being shipped from virginia and the chesapeake be sent to england. there is no system of regulations requiring basin produced england at all. ok. that is going to change. to understand what is happening, we need to understand a little bit of english history. when we think about the acts of trade navigation, where this process begins, the first act in
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1651, you probably know from reading the textbook this is associated towards the dutch. the dutch are the targets. this is emerging. what i want to argue to you is while they are economic and content, economics is the weapon wielded by this developing english imperial state against the maryland -- against maryland, we need to know more about the house of stuart and the house of orange in the netherlands. in 1641, mary stuart, g is known as the princess royal. charles the first is william the second father-in-law.
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mary is charles's eldest daughter. he enters that office in 1647. william worked on behalf of charles behalf supporting him in the second english civil war. following the execution of charles in 1649, william worked for the restoration of his son. he's forced to flee england. you have the house of orange operating in cooperation and closely tied through marriage to the stewart's. this is important. in england, even as the dutch are helping charles and
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harboring the future charles the second, england undergoes a major transformation. the king being executed, the country is transformed into a commonwealth. the last parliament called by charles the first, stripped of anybody who was resistant in terms of bringing charges
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executing the king. it transforms into a commonwealth by abolishing the house of lords. the leaders at that juncture, on the left, you see john pam, the leader of a certain faction. oliver st. john, another leader, one of these guys, both of them hold that vision. if you think back to that article that we read on the origins of the english empire, that sense of apocalyptic thinking that informed elizabethans had been so important in 1607. it spilled over into the founding of massachusetts. this is part of the same group. we could write the history of the formation of the english empire the 17th century. these men hold that same vision. it is going to reach it's fulfillment. they are going to pursue this into the western design which we have already discussed. the immediate object is to try and craft a union with the united provinces. not an alliance.
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they want to combine england, scotland, and ireland with the united provinces into a single powerful protestant state. this is what they want to achieve. because of his growing outrage of the pro-royalist actions within some of the provinces and the provocations of their deputies over these negotiations to form an anglo dutch union, st. john departs and discussed, comes back, and rams through parliament this first act of trade navigation of 1651 to punish them. to punish these elements within the dutch -- that don't want to do the right thing.
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first it banned foreign ships. the second thing, it banned third-party country ships transporting goods from a country outside of europe. eliminating the dutch from trading with the colonies. it is an aggressive action to punish them. in the long term we know these acts marks the first step toward the imperial regulation of colonial trade. the growing tensions resulting after that set the stage for the first anglo dutch war of 1652, 1654. england is going to a series of
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wars over the 17th century. the parliament headed by a state acting as an executive begins this war with the dutch in 1652. as it moves forward, there are are political developments within england. frustrated at the refusal to call for new elections to elect a new parliament and establish a tolerant national church, in 1653, oliver cromwell dissolves parliament by force and is soon thereafter appointed lord protector for life. we see him walking into the house of parliament, forcing members out. then we see him as lord protector. england gained the upper hand in
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the naval struggle even as the war produces no clear winner. despite the end of the conflict, it remains in forest throughout the remainder of the decade. after cromwell died in 1658 his son richard was unable to consolidate power as a successor. a struggle ensued between the army and the parliament, which led to political maneuvering for the return of the monarchy. that happens in 1660. the restoration of the stewart's and the throne of england. when he did so, all laws adopted between the execution of his father and his own restoration, we call the interregnum, it was deemed null and void. almost immediately knew tensions
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begin to develop between england and the united provinces over the status of charles the second's nephew. his rhetoric claims to the position of offices that his father had held was blocked. after being named grand pension mary control the faction. he was a committed republican and opponent of the return of the houses -- the house of orange to power. charles restoration effectively reverses the ideological position of england and the netherlands that had prevailed during the first war. at that junction, it was english public and frustration at the sympathizers in the netherlands that prompted the first trade navigation.
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now we have ever stirred -- restored monarchy wanting to see them return to power. so, a complete change in the polarity of their positions. the republican faction within the states general is working to achieve his overthrow. charles took steps to aid his nephew william the third undermined control of the dutch government. so, a complete change in the polarity of their positions. the republican faction within the states general is working to achieve his overthrow. charles took steps to aid his nephew william the third undermined control of the dutch government. one part of that program consisted of a new and more stringent navigation act which
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was passed in 1660. this navigation act required all ships be english owned, captain by an englishman and have crews that were three quarters english. it listed commodities such as tobacco, sugar and cotton and required ship captains post bond to ensure their compliance. it provided for the appointment of naval officers in each of the colonies. we have a customs officers appointed by the crown, through the nomination of governors who were regulating the trade of the empire. this system is going to further develop additional acts passed that further tie in the economic
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dimensions of this developing english empire. throughout the same decades, the crown did almost nothing to defend the largely english populations in america. from the hostile actions of european powers and native americans. we are seeing with english empire looks like. at least with respect to the main lands. it is very coastal in its character. in 1664, charles ordered
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aggressive actions be taken in africa and north america, in the conquest of new netherlands. these moves precipitated the outbreak of a second anglo dutch war. the famous admiral retaliated by shifting -- and then crossed the atlantic and attacked barbados. other dutch naval forces burnt tobacco ships in 1667 and 1673 during the third and final anglo dutch war. however no effort is made but england in this period to defend its place in north america. nor did they become involved inking philip's war. king philip's war in new england was fought almost entirely by settlers.
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the small contingent of 2000 soldiers sent to suppress bacon's rebellion in 1676 arrived in 1677 after the rebellion had been crushed. no real intrusion there. england's overseas settlements remained in a halfway house where the economic bonds were becoming ever stronger. but they still received little in the way of support to protect them from enemies. in the case of virginia the combined expense of building coastal fortifications to protect against dutch assaults, interior force to guard against the indians led to higher levels of taxation that paid a significant role transforming
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incursions by native americans into a full-blown civil war. they are off on their own. dominion like in many respects. with respect to the chesapeake, the most economically valuable zone of english colonization, the key turning point in the development of this last piece of the empire, the defensive network that would tie them with the mother country occurred in name aftermath -- in the aftermath of the revolution which saw the catholic king james the second, who it come to the throne in 1685 overthrown by the invasion force led by his protestant son-in-law. the same young man that had fought to keep from coming to power in the netherlands, that
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charles had tried to help in terms of foreign policy now is the instrument of overthrowing the stewart's, at least james the second and issuing in this era of english politics but the glorious revolution. william of orange had inherited his offices after the execution by a mob in 1672. therefore was both -- in the netherlands when he came to england and would be named along with his daughter mary. william's is such that he draws england into the nine years war of 1688 to 1697. not only with the netherlands but in the war of the austrian succession, spanish succession, excuse me. this is a conflict between 70
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note to an -- 1702 and 1713. william is pushing english foreign policy operating now in conjunction rather than in opposition. during this prolonged warfare, england would expend significant resources to protect the american plantation. this is what is going to give rise to this imperial stage. it is by way of talking about this, i want to focus on the chesapeake. the most economically valuable possession in north america. we can see the effects of this structure on society. in doing so it captures the nature of this empire. what you see in this slide is capturing both tobacco output and prices over the course of the 17th century. this line right here is prices. the price of tobacco. this is the farm gate price, the price of tobacco in the chesapeake.
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this is the changing in price that i would pay for. you can see we talked about earlier, you have this long-term downward change in prices with those intervening fluctuations. the other is the output of tobacco. the two red lines come in two red towers, these mark the warfare i was talking about. you can see here that this incredible growth in output, by
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the time we get to this, it flattens out. a lot of historians have interpreted this as more or less a stagnation in the growth of the chesapeake colonies, which led to an economic depression in virginia and maryland. i would argue this represents the institution of a convoy and embargo regime. which is adopted by the english government to protect the major staple trade of the empire and transatlantic slave trade over these years of war. the way this system operated is you have the whole purpose, not only to control trade of course, to keep the dutch from involvement in the imperial economy, but to build up the
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english merchant marine. the reason this is done, merchant marines were the nursery of seamen. in times of war you can draw on those sailors to staff warships of your navy. now it is a time of warfare and sailors need to staff ships. so you have to restrict the number of sailors available for commerce. in this convoy and embargo regime each major overseas trade of the empire is allocated a
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certain number of sailors. the west indies gets its allotment. the african tray gets its allotment and so forth. the embargo portion of this, when you want to protect these merchant ships as they move out to the open ocean, and subject to attacks from privateers, we are going to escort them. they're going to be escorted by warships. we have to consolidate them in one area. these ships consolidate and places like the downs where ships will depart on their voyages. you collect them. and embargo is placed on ships leaving. when is it going to sail and so on?
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after the convoy leaves there is a further embargo and ships can come and go. these convoys had out across the atlantic, to africa, the caribbean of the chesapeake. in the case of the chesapeake they gather in hampton roads. that gray bay. the lower part of the chesapeake bay. one of the english investments is the assignment of men of war to guard the entrance to the chesapeake bay. while it is huge, box of creeks and bays and rivers. there's only one way in and one way out. to guard the entrance to the
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bay, you don't need to build these coastal forts it has failed so miserably protecting the fleet in the anglo dutch wars. we have englishmen. the convoy arrives. it enters the bay accompanied by man-of-war. they reassembled down in the lower part of the bay. the same embargo is holding while they are doing that. eventually they had back across the atlantic to england. escorted by man-of-war where the profit is delivered. this is how the system works. this helps to explain this kind of stagnation. what we're seeing is the effect of this convoy and embargo regime. when you have a tight control over the number of ships engaging in the trade during these war years, 800 sailors eventually to 1000, there's a finite number of ships that can be staffed. of course you will see a flattening out. then it begets -- then it begins to grow again. having done this, this is
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occurring at a time when politics within england as result of the glorious revolution, and set of a stuart monarch with absolutist pretensions dictating what england is and is not going to do, you have parliament playing an active role and a monarchy accepting parliament as a key point in this. a key thing that would happen is the transformation of the lords of trade implantations. this gives way in 1696 to the board of trade, a professional
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appointed by and paid a salary that is supposed to be governing all aspects of england's possessions overseas. as part of this new consultative form of politics, this extends's possessions overseas. as part of this new consultative form of politics in england, this extends to matters of defense and imperial concerns, both in terms of customs duties and any organization of the regime. this is important because of the extent of this english effort. during the course of these wars and the intervening peace the , nine years war, and the war of the spanish succession, and this peace.eriod of 40 guns are dispatched to the chesapeake. some 16,000 sailors will spend
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time in the chesapeake over the course of the wars. this is a tremendous investment of resources by the english imperial state, unprecedented. nothing like this had happened before. who will govern this? which ships should be included? as a result of this consultative form of politics, the men who were organizing this -- -- once again, when you bring in a legislative body as an equal player, this will make things subject to political pressure. instead of only the crown making -- instead of an official only responsible to the crown making decisions, now we get the formation of pressure groups that will bring testimony, argue, submit petitions, and so on. this happens in terms of the management of this convoy and embargo regime with respect to the chesapeake. in the fall of 1691, 15 men who
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call themselves the principle merchants of this port of london concerned in virginia and maryland led by three guys. you can see here, you can read it, john jeffries, thomas lane, william and peter paden. yes? you have a question. student: what are the names in red mean? prof. coombs: these are the names of the guys whose names are on this petition. so, no different. it's probably a little bit hard to read for you guys. the names in red are the ones we know about, although they are they are just -- they are just stand in's for a larger body of importing merchants. so these 15 men demanded that a number of ships that had been designated to go to chesapeake
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in the convoy of 1691, and therefore have been marked against the quota allocated to the chesapeake trade, they demanded they be disallowed. they are the ones who pay the because most customs, most in customs duties. we see here in 1686, you have a fairly short list of men importing. these are all men importing more than 240,000 pounds of tobacco in 1686, so it is a fairly short list. collectively, they import over 11 million pounds of tobacco, which constitutes 65% of all tobacco imported into london in that year. these are the big players in other words, involved in the overseas tobacco trade. they say they know this trade. they pay the most customs, and
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there's a number of ships that have been allocated to the chesapeake and counted against its quota which should not be there. and so they then turned to the connections they have with the secretary of lords of trade, and influential member of this developing imperial establishment who tells them to petition the queen and ask for relief. this is the petition, the list of men who engaged in it. after they talk to the queen, three days later, the council issues an order directing that these are the guys who would determine what ships should and should not be included in the convoy. they are the experts. it is part of this consultative form of politics. these guys know how the chesapeake tobacco trade runs. if we want to know how best to make this convoy work to make it function, the least possible disruption, these are the guys
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to ask. and all of this is done in the office of public good, and one of the things they are good at is getting their own private interests more or less aligned with what is for the public good. ok, so, now, why is that these guys are such big importers? as we talked about when we were discussing the development of the chesapeake economy, these are the men who are the receiving agents in the consignment trade and tobacco. remember, beginning with the way tobacco is marketed, ships come over generally in the fall. they would make their way up the various rivers and creeks. they would have a cache of goods to sell. they would ask what do you want and they would exchange their goods for tobacco. they would sell at a determined price depending on the size of the crop and so on.
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what begins to happen as early 40's and 50's some of , the larger planters in the chesapeake begin trading on their own account. there is always a price spread between the price of tobacco in the chesapeake colonies and the price it commands on the wholesale market in london, and so instead of just accepting the price that this random ship captain might have to offer me, i will instead send the tobacco to england on my own account and pay a commission to someone to market it there for me. this developing consignment trade ties the larger planters of virginia and maryland to these british merchants. most of them in london. and this is crucial. it is pretty full well he did -- well developed. yes? student: [inaudible]
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prof. coombs: francis lee is a cousin of the lees of virginia but william willis is a virginia planter. just below this list is daniel park, also member of virginia -- also a member of virginia council of state. but you do see these planters increasingly building ships. in fact, the largest ship to lead the tobacco fleet during 1702, the ship relieving the english man-of-war had not arrived yet when the convoys were ready to depart, was the indian king, which along to -- belonged to daniel park. many of these planters are gaining the profits from freight as well as the price differential. yes? student: [inaudible] prof. coombs: many of the guys who are doing this, if you think back to the place between the
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northern bank of the rappahannock river and the northern bank of the james, so the middle and lower peninsulas, and the lower half of the northern neck, this sweet zone of virginia. many of this leading planters -- these leading planters are there. marylanders aren't, so it is not exclusively sweet scented growers. in virginia, most of the tobacco going over from virginia is sweet scented. great question. so what happens? one thing is that as the supplies of tobacco in england become more scarce, the price spread between the price given for tobacco in the chesapeake and the price given for tobacco in england grows ever larger. you see here how small it is in the 1660's, 1670's, but then we
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get to the war years and it starts to grow. so this is important. whoever gets their crop to market in wartime stands to make a killing. this is important. very crucially important for a number of reasons. a couple of things happen as a result of this. a notable consolidation and one, growth in the number of large firms importing tobacco in the chesapeake. you see here that they account for 65% of the imported total into london in 1686. this list has grown larger in 1697, but now they account for 77% of tobacco coming into england. even though this list has grown larger, most of that is coming from smaller importers being eliminated. it is being consolidated on the english end, which given what i
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said about how this embargo regime works should make sense. these the guys who are deciding the -- these are the guys who are deciding what ships are included in the convoy, what ships do think they're going to decide need to be included in the convoy? they will be evenhanded and let everybody, first come first serve? what do you think would happen? student: [inaudible] prof. coombs: their ships. that is right. their ships will be the one that goes. on the other end of the trade, they have those relationships with consigning planters, and the convoy is controlled on the chesapeake side largely by the virginia council of state. many of them are in that sweet scented zone that we talked about with respect to the chesapeake economy, so these are the guys deciding once these ships arrived in the chesapeake what happens to them.
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who gets tobacco on board? you think you will load everybody's tobacco first come first served? their tobacco will get on the first, and the tobacco they purchase from their neighbors. so you effectively have this tool and. -- this lead and. leading merchants of london, the leading planters and chesapeake, who are controlling this trade for 20 years, which is crucial. it has a number of ramifications. let's skip ahead here. right, one of them was, well, one of them going back to that slide is this consolidation i talked about, large importing firms and how you get the growth. you move from the low 60's upwards of 77% to 80% of the tobacco by this well-defined group. another result is a significant advance in the fortunes of the leading chesapeake planters,
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particularly those in virginia, but also including well-connected marylanders, who consolidated their position atop the region's socioeconomic hierarchy and fill their pockets with the profits necessary to not only dramatically expand the size of their labor forces, which they do in the early decades of the 18th century, but also construct these impressive mansions for which tidewater is renowned. this was built by robert king carter in the 1720's. this is a party house, according to the architectural historian. this is not where he lived. it is a house they built to hang out, drink, and have fun. it is pretty impressive. another one is rosewell in gloucester county. it burns only a couple of years
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after it is constructed, so it has been explored archaeologically. rosewell will also burn, but not until later. we actually have pictures of what this looked like. this is built by man page the first in gloucester. john page is the 17th century -- the founder of the family and arrived in the 17th century and built an impressive house at middle plantation, now williamsburg, in 1662, so this is his great-grandson, built this, begins this construction in 1725. right in the aftermath. this is cutting edge architecture, even for england. it has this nice spot appear, a -- up here glass enclosure with , a this balcony where you can hang out and drink and look over your domain, so to speak. yes? >> is that the dutch style you
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are talking about, that first one? prof. coombs: no, it has this arcaded portico. there is a brick-lined tunnel. it is very elaborate. so if we are looking at the point in chesapeake history when these leading elites consolidate their position and become the leading families of virginia and maryland, they are already there before the war begins. they are the kind of at the top which is why they are in a position to take advantage of the opportunities of war time provide. but as a result of this, they really cement their places atop the society. other results gave rise to the so-called virginia lobby, which
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was effectively a political alliance between the leading planters of the chesapeake and their consigning merchants. at the end of the 1690's, taking advantage of that consultative politics that developed up to the glorious revolution, this alliance would chalk up impressive successes, which included a long-sought after ban bulk tobacco. sailors would take bundles of tobacco and stuff them between the hogsheads in the hold of the ship, and when they arrived in england, they could slip them pass customs, but it retards the price of the tobacco market, so leading planters in the chesapeake had been seeking to ban bulk tobacco for a number of years, at least since 1680.
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they were able to achieve that and get that legislation passed by parliament at the end of the 1690's. they were also successful in removing governor francis nicholson from office and operating in cooperation with west indian and other interests and succeeded in bringing about the end of monopoly control over the english transatlantic slave trade, which led to an expansion thehe slot -- size of british transatlantic slave trade in the early decades of the 18th century. so powerful was the group, that one of nicholson's successors would contend in 1718 that "it is well-known for these 30 years past that no governor had long escaped being vilified in his first year and misrepresented at home then he began to discover the intrigues and politics of this political party."
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-- formidable party." this combination of chesapeake planters and london merchants. they are the first imperial pressure groups to push an agenda, and in the 1690's, they really succeeded. eventually this will fall apart. we will talk about that later. in short, the british empire after 1707, emerging around the turn of the 18th century, it worked quite well for men of means and influence on both sides of the atlantic, who were able to work the corridors of politics. to align their own insurance -- interests with the public good. the imperial structures are still designed. you can see here how small, this is 1700, still how coastal these english possessions in north america are.
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and so they were still designed to govern islands. it would prove woefully inadequate as mainland economies grew in an astonishing way, and amazing rate, and in the process underwent transformation from islands in a sea of wilderness to a leviathan pushing further into the interior of the continent. we will pick that up next week. very good. thanks. [applause] >> you are watching american history tv all weekend every weekend on c-span3. findin the conversation, us on facebook at c-span history. all weekend long, american history tv is joining our comcast cable partners to showcase the history of san jose, california. to learn more about the cities on our current for, visit


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